Quintalan learns to switch auras! Film at eleven!
Seriously, I never gave much thought to the aura I'm on when I was running an instance. Just turn on Retribution Aura and have at it. Okay, I've also been known to ignore the Crusader Aura that's been left on while flying around when the summons comes. And yeah, I occasionally forget to turn Crusader Aura on when flying.* (Stop laughing, Soul!)
But intentionally switching auras during an instance? Not on your life.
There were three pivotal moments for that in my aura education: taking out the Sons of Gruul; a forgettable Pit of Saron run; and perusing the details in the recount stats.
The sons of Gruul weren't an instance run. For those of you who quest, you already know that they're 5-man quests found in Blade's Edge in Outland, so why is this doing here? Because when I soloed those quests, I decided I needed more armor than what I was getting with all the buffs I was using, so I switched to Devotion Aura just prior to launching my attacks. Okay, my decision was also made in hindsight, because I felt that the first time I tried and failed to kill the first of the Sons of Gruul it was due to my taking too much damage. Since I wasn't about to simply replace my trusty old Sword of Justice (aka the tuning fork) that easily, I switched auras instead. That little boost seemed to do the trick as I was able to survive all of the encounters with the Sons of Gruul. Translation: even a Ret Pally can use Devotion Aura from time to time.
My second big learning came from a Pit of Saron run that didn't go quite so well. In that run we had one well geared tank who was taking a bunch of people new to the instance, and I was only on my second run at that. Well, we met Garfrost, and he had us for lunch. Twice. After that second wipe, I got tired of watching the frost stacks add up and switched on Frost Resistance Aura to help mitigate the frost damage. Between that and not having to run halfway across the area to find a boulder to break the contact for the frost debuff, we managed to survive that third time. (I believe the tank said "We have to find a boulder to break contact, don't scatter so broadly!" Hey, I was following the tank around. Me no dummy.)
That success with Garfrost gave me the insight that maybe it was better to switch auras more often, like when running up toward the final fight with Tyrannus. Or when the proto-drakes in Utgarde Keep start blasting fire.
My tweaking of the auras still bothered me, because I thought I was losing significant DPS just so I could mitigate the damage. On some of these high end instances my DPS count doesn't look very flattering, so I was wondering if I was hurting myself further in that area by switching out of Retribution Aura. Well, perusal of the recount data proved to me that I need not worry. Damage from Ret Aura was down in the pack after the Seals, Melee, and Divine Storm. With that knowledge in front of me, I felt better making smarter use of my Auras to help the team.
And besides, anything to help the healer works well with me.
*I have my excuses when farming for ore; Crusader Aura plus an epic mount mean that I zip by ore so fast it will occasionally not register in the searching. I've learned to leave Crusader Aura off when farming for Titanium.